How do you address College and Career Readiness in a pandemic? It is definitely a challenge. November is National Career Development Month, which is the perfect time to offer school counseling resources that address future planning. Though it may look different, we can provide students the necessary tools to be prepared for the future. Here are three components that give students what they need to be college and career ready during a pandemic.
Connectedness during a Pandemic
Whether in person, all virtual, or a combination of these, students need to feel connected with their counselors for college and career readiness. Those who need the most help, may not reach out. Use a survey, counselor referral, or academic/attendance data to determine which students may need personal outreach. School counselors are naturally out of the box thinkers. Use your creative juices to figure out ways to connect. Virtual coffee/lunch with the counselor, flexible office hours, scheduled check-ins, virtual referral forms, and social media notifications can help students feel connected.
Communication during a Pandemic
Similar to connectedness, communication is another tool to help students stay on track with their future plans. Provide a website for college and career readiness customized for your specific school setting. A weekly/monthly email blast is an easy way to get information out to all students. In addition, reach out through social media apps to make it fun. Create in-person or virtual college/career bulletin boards to highlight a specific skill, career, college, or technical school. Remember, too, that parents need to be included in communications (especially for high school students and those transition years).
Resources for College and Career Readiness in a Pandemic
It can be overwhelming to figure out what resources will best meet the needs of your students for college and career readiness. ASCA has an excellent library of webinars and videos for all grade levels. Your state counseling standards will also guide you in what your focus should be. There are many lessons and online tools students can use to learn about themselves. I use this Career Fields lesson to introduce students to careers in general. Here are more college and career readiness resources:
- Find free online resources for students at Education Planner, My Next Move, Career Girls, Money Prodigy, Mapping Your Future, and Career One Stop.
- Other resources that require a fee include Naviance, Career Cruiser, and KUDER.
- Check out your Department of Education website for state-specific resources.
- Teachers Pay Teachers has virtual career activities like this one from Pawsitive School Counselor. It is a great way to introduce students to a variety of careers. Counselor Keri also has some general ideas for distance learning that you can find here.
Remember, we are in a fluid situation as school counselors, with a variety of factors out of our control. The most important thing we can do is be available for our students, provide them with resources to meet their needs, and encourage them in their life pursuits. This will ensure that they have the tools necessary for college and career readiness.